Bless GQ for celebrating the fact that folks can fill their homes with thriftstore furniture and own up to it. Support your local resale shops!
It was Valentines Day (which is also David’s birthday) 2002. Cursed with the double-gift pressure, I hit what was the best junk/antique store in the city (now gone, it used to sit across from the flatiron building). It was more of a hoarder’s paradise, packed to the gills and dirt cheap.
After descending some crazily steep steps to the cellar, you could make out a tiny bit of his future gift peeking from a massive mound of trunks, discarded chairs and god knows what else. It weighed more than I did, so it was hell heaving it into the back of the pickup. It took a few drycleanings to revive it, but worth it. Both the prettiest and ugliest thing I’d ever seen, and well worth throwing down $145 bucks for. More than I’d ever paid for a rug, and certainly more than any gift for a guy I’d only been dating a few short months.
Party spills, moves, cats, a dog, a decade of marriage and a one baby puking later, it’s still in our living room. And 15 years later, it somehow found it’s way into the GQ style pages).
Until our friend sent me this link, I was actually planning on donating it. But now maybe we’ll keep it till Charlie’s in college. or at least till next fall.
(IMPORTANT IMAGE CAPTION: notice the duct tape on the leg of the coffee table? Our friend was discarding this thing. so we salvaged it from his “toss” pile. We were planning to fix that leg. That was 12 years ago.)
What GQ said: Put extra thought into your rug.The area rug is one of the first things you notice when you walk into a room, and they usually come with a hefty price tag—so don’t treat it like a doormat. We suggest getting your money’s worth by going for something on the bolder side, like an overdyed oriental or a speckled cowhide.
And- another shot from the same story, where they feature a bunch of stuff piled on our dining room ledge.
More stuff GQ said: Mismatching is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s highly encouraged. Designer Suzanne Kesler once said, “A room should feel collected… not decorated.” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to furnishing a man’s home. If you want to avoid making your home looking like an Ikea catalog, combine items from different times and places—like an antique chesterfield sofa alongside a modern accent chair.
Backstory (if you care about this sorta stuff)
THE ANOTOMY OF OUR DINING ROOM LEDGE:
Painting: Prague junk market $15
Glass wine decanter: a Flea market somewhere moooons ago. No idea what we paid but i remember it was full of ladybugs.
Ledge / shelf: Pagoda Red on Damen Ave. (its a 200 year old Pagoda threshold). the only thing bought at a proper home store, i guess.
Antlers: found at a bric-a-brac upstate Wisco. Mount constructed by Steven Teichelman for a $100.
Oversized photo: Todd Baxter‘s “Owl Scout” series (bartering is the best system ever).
1920’s inmate ID file: antique store $10.